BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The Microsoft Corporation will begin selling its new Xbox 360 machine on Nov. 22 in North America in time for the Christmas shopping season, in a bid to narrow Sony Corp.'s lead in the market for video-game consoles.
The releases will allow the Redmond-based software maker to get a head start over rival Sony¡¯s PlayStation 3, due for release next June, which is slated to replace the market-leading PlayStation 2 next spring.
The machine will go on sale Dec. 2 in Europe and Dec. 10 in Japan, Mitch Koch, Xbox's vice president for worldwide retail sales and marketing, said in an interview yesterday.
Video game industry analysts said it was too soon to tell how much benefit Microsoft would gain by being the first out of the gate.
"Japan's broadband infrastructure is the most advanced in the world and we expect there to be more demand for units with the disk drive," Yoshihiro Maruyama, head of the Xbox division in Japan, said at a news conference in Tokyo today. "There is a possibility that we will sell units without a disk drive in Japan, but we haven't decided yet."
He declined to give shipment targets.
The Japanese unit will cost 37,900 yen, or about $345 ¡ª slightly less than the $399.99 the company is charging in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Microsoft had previously disclosed the U.S. price, as well as the European price of 399.99 euros.
"The price is going to decline over time and be more broadly appealing to a broader range of consumers,¡± said Yoshihiro Maruyama.
Microsoft has already begun producing ¡°millions of units¡± at three facilities in southern China, Reid said, although he would not provide a specific number of units that will be available at launch. Enditem